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When it’s overcast and rainy in the middle of a Düsseldorf winter, there’s nothing better than a trip to the warmer side of the continent. Gran Canaria is no secret, much like Mallorca, Malta, Madeira, and the Greek islands, these are all popular hot spots for Europeans to enjoy a little summer sun in the middle of the winter.
This year, I decided to take my “February Blues Trip” (as I like to call it) to Gran Canaria. Although, I must admit I was a little skeptical at first and had naïvely assumed that the entire island would be filled with drunken youngsters from the UK and Germany. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely areas in Gran Canaria like this – if you’re into that sort of thing (might I recommend Playa del Inglés?).
However, I was incredibly surprised at how beautiful the island was and how much nature there was to explore, despite the fact that you are actually able to drive the entire circumference of the island in a little over 3 hours.
I loved it so much, that I more than recommend you considering Gran Canaria as one of your next summer sun getaways from Düsseldorf. If you’d prefer a little closer to home, we also have a list of other weekend getaways you can explore too.
It’s a direct flight from Düsseldorf, it’s affordable and it’s gorgeously warm. Want to know more? Here’s a look at what you can get up to around the island.
Visit the dunes of Maspalomas
The Maspalomas Dunes are located in the very south of the island and spread across 404 hectares of beautiful land. There’s something surreal about sitting on the top of a desert-like sand dune and looking out into the abyss of the blue ocean. The dunes have been listed as a nature reserve since 1987.
Get killer aerial views at Roque Nublo
Roque Nublo is only about a 1,5-kilometer hike up from the parking spots and definitely worth the trip. It is a huge volcanic rock that sits over 1,800 meters above sea level, on one of Gran Canaria’s highest points. Pico de las Nieves, an even higher lookout point (that doesn’t require a hike) is actually only about 15-minutes away from Roque Nublo. However, due to the high altitudes (1,949 meters), don’t be surprised if you’re in the clouds without a view of the island.
Watch the waves at Los Charcones De Bañaderos
We actually just discovered this spot to watch the waves as we were driving along the coast to Las Salinas. You could hear the waves crashing from inside the car and there was no question about it, we were stopping to enjoy this incredible experience. Close by is also a natural swimming pool that can be enjoyed when the waves aren’t high in action.
Go for a coastal drive through Tamadaba National Park
Another incredible experience that we happened to stumble upon as we drove the coastal route around the entire island, the Tamadaba National Park feels like a scene out of Jurrasic Park. The serpentine roads bring you around the national park and back to the water’s edge every few minutes. I might just add that this was definitely the highlight of my trip.
Enjoy a seafood lunch in Puerto de las Nieves
Puerto de las Nieves is a quaint little fisherman’s village along the North-West side of the island. It is well known as ‘the charming little port filled with blue and white houses’ and certainly holds a lot of character. The port is commonly visited by travelers and locals catching the ferry from Gran Canaria to Tenerife. It is also one of the best spots on the island for a seafood lunch. My husband still talks about the octopus today, and my favorite dish was the local specialty, Gran Canaria potatoes with Mojo sauce.
The restaurant we visited was called Restaurante Puerto de Laguete – and it was delicious!
Go for a swim at Las Salinas
The picture doesn’t do this natural swimming pool justice. It just so happens that apparently in mid-February, Las Salinas is not as calm and relaxing as one might have thought. The waves were at full throttle while we were visiting, but if you get a chance to enjoy Las Salinas on a calmer day, the photos I saw on Pinterest were incredible! The pool was formed by volcanic rock, and the pools are connected by volcanic tubes which also offer some shelter from the wide-open sea.
People-watch in Puerto de Mogan
I’m not going to lie, there are quite a number of travelers visiting and staying in Puerto de Mogan, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from spending a couple of hours in this beautiful port. You can watch the boats go by, enjoy some time on the beach or people-watch through the cute little alleys filled with restaurants and cafes.
Pack a picnic and relax at Presa De Las Niñas
If you’re a traveler that likes to avoid crowds, Presa De Las Niñas is the place to be. The drive alone is worth it, and when you get there you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful and pristine landscape (and perhaps a few friendly goats passing by too). There is a large recreational space that offers picnic benches, grills, bathrooms, and parking spots. You also have the option to camp here too if you’d like.
Wander the old town of Vegueta
Along the water’s edge in Las Palmas is the historic old town of Vegueta, a charming little area of Las Palmas home to incredible buildings including the Santa Ana Cathedral, the Casa de Colon house, and the Gabinete Literario Club. There is also a wonderful little food market where you find delicious fresh fruits for purchase. If you only have a day to explore Las Palmas and the old town of Vegueta, it’s definitely worth your while to join a tour with Urban Adventures. They offer a number of unique and sustainable tours around town.
Soak up the sun at Anfi del Mar
Anfi del Mar is another spot in Gran Canaria that is popular for tourists, thus you’ll find a lot of services catered to tourists including restaurants, water sports, and shopping centers. Despite it’s Disneyland feel and artificial beaches, it is quite a neat place to see, and a great place to soak up some sun. The light-colored sand and cleanliness of the shallow waters offers a beautiful and dreamy-like aquamarine blue tone.
Looking for a place to stay?
How to get there & how to get around
It’s about a 4,5-hour flight from Düsseldorf and there are many direct flights offered throughout the year. We flew with EuroWings as they had the best price and a non-stop flight from Düsseldorf to Gran Canaria.
When you land in Gran Canaria, there are a number of car rental companies set up right across from the baggage claim area, making it very easy to pick-up and go. I’d suggest booking ahead of time on a rental comparison site as you’re likely to get some cheaper deals there. I, however, always recommend purchasing full coverage when traveling to Spain. While you should always be buying full coverage, Spain I find in particular quite thorough when it comes to the final drop off exam of the vehicle. Thankfully, rental cars are pretty affordable in Gran Canaria! We paid about 18 Euro/day while we were there.
If you’re in the works of already planning your own itinerary, the interactive map below includes all of the above-mentioned activities.
If you’re looking for a long weekend getaway a little closer to home, why not check out the beautiful region of Harz, Germany?! You’ll thank me later!
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